Dear Okie

Doye O'Dell, radio singer and cowboy star.

Doye O'Dell recorded this song in 1948 based on partial lyrics by fellow Cowboy actor Rudy Sooter. Doye knew where of he sang having grown up on a Texas cotton spread in the dustbowl era. He left the farm for a career as a radio singer. He started with WDAG in Amarillo and then XCPM, one of those high powered Mexican border stations that broadcasted great hillbilly, western and blues music over the continent. Later he joined a stage show, Doc Snyders Texas Cowboys, and then landed his own NBC radio show produced in New York.

Then Doye went west, to Californy, to work in film as a protégé of Roy Rogers. After serving in the war he returned to Los Angeles to work in the movies and music the rest of his life. Doye passed away in 2001 at the age of 89.

I learned 'Dear Okie' from the singing of John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers. These lyrics include some that were added by other singers and one fashioned by me. That's the folk tradition you know.

Lyrics: 

Dear Okie, if you see Arkie
Tell 'im Tex got a job for him out in Californy
Pickin' up prunes, squeezin' oil out of olives

Dear Okie, if you see Arkie
Tell 'im Tex got a job for him out in Californy
Rakin' up gold, playing fiddle in the Follies

Now, he'll be lucky if he finds a place to live
But there's orange juice fountains flowing for those kids of his

So, Dear Okie, if you see Arkie
Tell 'im Tex got a job for him out in Californy
Diggin' oil wells, all he needs is a shovel

Dear Okie, if you see Arkie
Tell 'im Tex got a job for him out in Californy
Sellin' used cars, just a-waitin' for the suckers

If he takes the Freeway to the grocery store
He'll make it if he starts out on the day before

Dear Okie, If you see Arkie
Tell 'im Tex's got a job for 'im out in Californ-y
Just a-workin' in a bank, all he needs is a shotgun.

Dear Okie, If you see Arkie
Tell 'im Tex's got a job for 'im out in Californ-y
Singin in the club, just picking and a grinnin

Now, he'll be lucky if he finds a place to live
But there's orange juice fountains flowing for those kids of his

So, Dear Okie, if you see Arkie
Tell 'im Tex got a job for him out in Californy

Instruments: